Battery Boost: BASF makes moves towards EV production

Schwarzheide, Germany — BASF has broken ground with its new cathode active materials production plant in Schwarzheide, Germany.

“The investment is a major step for Germany and Schwarzheide,” said Peter Altmaier, federal minister for economic affairs and energy.

The new plant for cathode active materials will be equipped with world-leading process technology and enable the supply of around 400,000 full electric vehicles per year with BASF battery materials. BASF’s innovative cathode materials increase the performance of batteries, promoting the success of climate-friendly mobility, according to the company’s press release.

The new plant is part of BASF’s multi-step investment plan in the European battery materials market and will use precursors from the company’s previously announced plant in Harjavalta, Finland. Construction has already started in August of this year in Schwarzheide and the plant is scheduled for 2022 star-up.

“We support our customers and want to capture the growth opportunity in the fast-growing electric mobility market with our investments in battery materials in Europe,” said Dr. Martin Brudermüller, chairman of the board of executive directors of BASF. “Electromobility is one of the key solutions to unite the global desire for individual mobility and the need to significantly reduce local emissions. BASF is driving sustainable electromobility with innovative battery materials and state-of-the-art technology,”

European Commission Vice President Maroš Šefčovič emphasized the importance of creating a competitive and sustainable battery cell manufacturing value chain in Europe. He stated that the battery value chain is of strategic importance for Europe’s resilience, particularly concerning clean, sustainable mobility. He said this investment is more critical as the country seeks to jumpstart economies while accelerating the green transition.

“I am pleased that our focus on scaling up innovation under the European Battery Alliance is yielding strong industrial projects like the BASF investment. Building a competitive, innovative, and sustainable battery ecosystem in Europe will also help protect millions of jobs in European industries in the face of tougher global competition,” continued Šefčovič.

According to Dr. Peter Schuhmacher, president of the catalyst division at BASF, the new plant with the precursor plant in Harjavalta will use efficient manufacturing processes, a high share of renewable energy, upstream integration into the key raw materials like cobalt and nickel, and a short transportation route along the value chain.

“These measures will lead to a 30 percent lower CO2  footprint compared to the conventional industry standard,” he said. “With efforts on recycling, BASF aims to close the loop while reducing the CO2  footprint of our cathode active materials by up to 60 percent in total.”

The investment in Schwarzheide reinforces BASF’s support of the European Commission’s agenda towards a European battery production value chain and is part of the “important Project of Common European Interest (IPCEI)” approved by the European Commission on Dec. 9, 2019, under the European Union State aid rules.

The launch of innovative battery materials from the Schwarzheide plant and research to develop next-generation battery materials and process development, including battery recycling, is funded by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy.

“I am delighted that customers, politicians, and partners can participate virtually in the groundbreaking event for the new battery materials plant at our site in Schwarzheide,” said Jürgen Fuchs, managing director of BASF Schwarzheide GmbH. “The new plant is already well under construction and will expand our product portfolio at the site, creating around 150 new jobs after its start-up in 2022. In this way, the investment is positively shaping the structural change in the Lusatia region. This is truly a moment to celebrate and remember.”

 

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